Traffic closings on 11th Street to begin Thursday


The 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River connects with the Southeast-Southwest Freeway near the Navy Yard and Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of 11th Street Bridge project)

The District’s 11th Street Bridge project is about to temporarily shut 11th Street SE between M and K streets north of the Navy Yard, so that workers can finish installing steel girders over the roadway.

That zone is scheduled to close after Thursday morning’s rush hour and reopen for evening rush hour. (Closing from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) But then the street will close again at 8 p.m. and remain closed until 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

In this area south of Capitol Hill, workers are building a bridge above 11th and M streets that will take traffic eastbound on Interstate 695. The flyover bridge is scheduled to open next summer.

Peter McDonough, the project manager, said that completion of the flyover is especially important to drivers because that eastbound traffic is now traveling on what is meant to be the inbound bridge. Once the work is done and the bridge traffic can be rerouted, there will be an additional lane for westbound drivers coming off the 11th Street Bridge.

The absence of that extra inbound lane during construction is a prime source of the congestion that commuters experience each morning on the bridge. The slowdown on the bridge for traffic to move into the available lanes affects not only the bridge but also the approaches on Interstate 295 to the south and D.C. 295 to the north.

The upcoming shutdown is a mere portion of that project, but still requires a significant safety zone for the workers and travelers. McDonough said the job involves seven girders for a 250-foot span. Each girder comes in three sections that will need to be spliced, a noisy and time-consuming process, he said.

Because so many residences are nearby, and there are noise restrictions, the work won’t be done at night.

Detours

Northbound 11th Street SE traffic will be detoured via M Street to Eighth Street, then onto G Street to return to 11th Street. Southbound traffic will be detoured to I (Eye) Street, then onto Eighth Street and M Street before returning to 11th Street south of M Street.

Access from southbound 11th Street to K Street will be maintained, as will access from 11th Street to westbound I-695 (Southeast/Southwest Freeway).

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Robert Thomson · July 31, 2013